Thursday, December 29, 2011

James Asher - Tigers of the Raj

The ten pieces in Tigers of the Raj trace a journey to Rajasthan, the land of princely dynastic rulers, elegance, and stark beauty. Rhythmic elements, also used in Feet in the Soil, underpin the wider range of themes that characterizes the album. The power, splendor, color, and epic sense of adventure found in the ancient palaces of Rajasthan made a profound impact on the author who here attempts to orchestrate moods and feelings evoked by his journey, weaving together modern techniques with ancient sounds in a musical score fit for a maharajah. State-of-the-art hard disk recording techniques are tastefully and expertly combined with magnificent musical productions by Indian artists. The santoor play of Kiran Pal Singh (who is one of only five disciples of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma) is enhanced by the infectious conga playing of Miles Bould (who has frequently toured with Sting). World renowned frame-drum player Glen Velez here joins guitarist Volker Grun, who flew especially from Germany to contribute more of the unique swing that previously enriched Feet in the Soil. Twenty musicians in total join here to co- create this impressive tribute to Indian culture and art and evoke in music the experiences of a traveler journeying through the "Land of Kings." The album is further uplifted by acoustic percussions, sitar, santoor, sarangi, flute, and the voices of several Indian singers used to create a magical musical atmosphere. Like in Feet in the Soil, James Asher uses drums as the base of his musical composition Tigers of the Raj. Rajasthani drumming rhythms were created in consultation with Sandeep Raval, a remarkable table player and expert of Indian folk music. Contemporary Western dance sounds were added and also melody, contributed by Craig Pruess, both a keyboard player and an expert in sitar, tambura, and swarmandala instruments with twelve years of experience in the study of Indian music. The trance-like opening piece Temple Gates is characterized by a hot and driving tempo, enriched by the duj-djun's of Peter Lockett (who is the percussion player on the musical score of the James Bond feature Tomorrow Never Dies) and the dhols of Johnny Kalai (whose Dhol Foundation was the opening act in the concert given by the BBC in honor of India's soth anniversary of independence featuring Ravi Shankar.) A haunting and ethereal female voice opens the temple gates of this mesmerizing piece, leading the listener into the heart of the composition and beguiling one to join the dance. Who is She? Is She a Rajasthani Temple Priestess? Her enchantment is an invitation to enter the hypnotic sway of the dance that climaxes with the sounds of guitar and sarangi. James Asher's album is a welcome surprise; it honors the richness of Indian classical music and weaves it with variations on Western rhythms. Enhanced by the quality of its excellent production, Tigers of the Raj stands out as an original album of world music with broad appeal. From the haunting themes of Red Desert to the majestic finale of the last track, its melody, groove, and atmosphere make it an all-absorbing experience. Never has Indian fusion sounded this good before! - by TJE NAPRA June 2000. (New Earth Records website)

Artist: James Asher
Album: Tigers of the Raj
Year: 1998
Label: New Earth
Runtime: 70:24

1.  Temple Gates (Radio Edit) 4:33 
2.  Trans-India 5:44 
3.  Prayer Wheel (Ragu Patti) 6:28 
4.  Red Desert 5:40 
5.  Assam 4:54 
6.  Further East 5:25 
7.  Nataraj Express 5:39 
8.  Liquid Sky 5:35 
9.  Duskfire 7:03 
10.  The Astrologer's Seat 11:04 
11.  Temple Gates (Extended Mix) 8:13 
All compositions by j. Asher, except Red Desert and Nataraj Express co-composed by J. Asher and Craig Pruess

James Asher (Keyboards, Percussion and Soundscape)
Sandeep Raval (Tabla, Dholak, Tassa and Djembe)
Johnny Kalsi (Dhol)
Sumeet Chopra (Tabla, Douffli, Tassa and Keyboards)
Kiran Pal Singh (Santoor)
Kiran Thakrar (Keyboards)
Glen Velez (Frame Drums, Reik and Percussions)
Billy Wilmington (Drums, Darabouka and Ankle-Bells)
Tom Eldridge (Djembe)
Mohan Parmar (Manjira)
Surinder Kamath (Flute)
Volker Grün (Guitar)
Craig Pruess (Sitar, Swaramandala, Tambura and Keyboards)
Surjit Singh (Sarangi)
Peter Lockett (Djun-Djuns, Chapa, Kanjira and Cymbals)
Miles Bould (Congas and Timbales)
Chhaya Vachharajani (Vocals) - 6,7,9
Al Gromer Khan (Sitar) - 10
Swati Natekar (Vocals) - 3
Pandit Vishwa Prakash (Vocals) - 8
Dinesh K. Mahavir (Vocals) - 4

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Patricia Barber - A Distorsion of Love

Pianist and singer Patricia Barber's second album (and major-label debut) is a consistently interesting, but not always completely rewarding, array of original instrumentals, vocal standards, and surprise cover versions. The arrangement of "Summertime" that opens the program is eerie almost to the point of creepiness, and all the more effective for it: after a long instrumental prelude, Barber sings the lyrics over the most minimal bass-and-piano unison pedal point, her voice goosed with reverb and wailing softly like a ghost. "Subway Station #5," the original composition that follows, is nervous, jumpy, barely tonal, and moves niftily from a contrapuntal and polyrhythmic introduction into a straight swing section. The problem is that it lasts almost ten minutes, and by the seventh or eighth minute, its ideas seem pretty well played out. "Or Not to Be" and "Yet Another in a Long Series of Yellow Cars" suffer from similar treatment. But her singing on "You Stepped Out of a Dream" and, especially, her sweet and touching rendition of the soul classic "My Girl" are quietly spectacular. There's every reason to expect great things of her in the future. - by Rick Anderson, AMG

Artist: Patricia Barber
Album: A Distorsion of Love
Year: 1991
Label: Antilles (1992)
Runtime: 59:07

1.  Summertime (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin/Dubose Heyward) 6:14
2.  Subway Station (Patricia Barber) 9:31
3.  You Stepped out of a Dream (Gus Kahn/Nacio Herb Brown) 7:36
4.  Parts Parallels (Patricia Barber) 5:06
5.  Or not to Be (Patricia Barber) 7:04
6.  Yellow Car (Patricia Barber) 5:50
7.  Yet Another in a Long Series (Patricia Barber) 4:28
8.  I Never Went Away (Richard Rodney Bennett) 4:37
9.  My Girl (Smokey Robinson/Ronald White) 3:44
10.  By Myself (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 4:53

Patricia Barber (Piano, Vocals)
Wolfgang Muthspiel (Guitar)
Marc Johnson (Bass Guitar)
Adam Nussbaum (Drums, Shakers)
Carla White (Finger snaps)
Big Kahuna (Finger snaps)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Various Artists - Into the Christmas

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Into the Christmas  I-II
Year: 2011
Label: ITR (Into the Rhythm Blog - for You)
Runtime: 103.32

01 - Lester Bowie - Almost Christmas
02 - Odetta - Rise Up Sheperd And Follow
03 - Ella Fitzgerald - Good Morning Blues
04 - Jimmy Smith - Jingle Bells
05 - Wynton Marsalis - Sleigh Ride
06 - Bela Fleck - J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio - BVW 248 # 41 Ich will nur zu Ehren leben
07 - Silje Nergaard - Is Christmas Only a Tree
08 - The Classical Jazz Quartet - Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
09 - Fione Apple - Frosty The Snowman
10 - Priscilla Ahn - Silent Night
11 - Tony Bennett - White Christmas
12 - Grover Washington Jr. - Christmas Day Chant
13 - Holly Cole - If We Make It Through December
14 - Judy Holliday & Gerry Mulligan - It Must Be Christmas
15 - Oscar Peterson - Away in a Manger
16 - Ray Brown Trio - Rudolph The Red - Nosed Reindeer
17 - Betty Bennett -  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
18 - Diana Krall - Let It Snow
19 - Pink Martini - Auld Lang Syne
20 - Ottmar Liebert - We 3 Kings (of Orient R)  Santa Fe X'mas
21 - Simon Shaheen - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
22 - Glen Velez & Mike Richmond - The Little Drummer Boy
23 - Tarun Bhattacharya - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
24 - Ustad Amjad Ali Khan- Silent Night
25 - Folk Scat - Silent Night

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hariprasad Chaurasia & Zakir Hussain - Venu

The performance captured on this recording represents an early meeting of Hariprasad-ji with the great percussionist Zakir Hussain. This historic 1974 concert at the Stone House in Fairfax, California is marked by a youthful vigour that cannot fail to inspire the listener. In an enthusiastic exchange of rhythmic complexities these two artists reveal the mastery of improvisatory technique that is a hallmark of Indian music. Venu was recorded live at a 1974 concert in a large granite room, literally a stone house. It was re-mixed July 30-31, 1989 at Studio X in Petaluma, CA. - from the CD booklet

What Zakir Hussain and Hari Prasad Chaurasia have recorded here is nothing short of sublime. For those unfamiliar to music of this kind, this recording is an excellent introduction. Brilliant virtuosity and outstanding musicianship are enhanced by an unique acoustical setting and tasteful recording methods to render this one of the best recordings under the Rykodisc label. The warmth of tone and expressful phrasing of Hari Prasad are only accompianied by the droning tambura on the first half and later joined by the mastery of Zakir Hussain on the tabla in the second half. The energetic nature of this music surprisingly brings one to stillness...a stillness that is well suited for pre- or post-meditation listening. Listen and you'll see. OM Shanthi, Peace. - by a customer,

Artist: Hariprasad Chaurasia & Zakir Hussain
Album: Venu
Year: 1974 (live)
Label: Rykodisc (1989)
Runtime: 66:00

1.  Rag Ahir Bhairav - alop and jor 29:50 
2.  Rag Ahir Bhairav - slow gat in rupak tal, fast gat in teental 36:10 

Hariprasad Chaurasia (Bansuri=Bamboo flute)
Zakir Hussain (Tabla)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jimmy Smith - Home Cookin'

The Hammond organ mastery of Jimmy Smith is arguably nowhere as profound as on this collection. Support is provided by the formidable trio of Donald Bailey (drums), Kenny Burrell (guitar) and Percy France (tenor sax). On Home Cookin' (1959), they couple a few understated cool R&B classics with their own originals. The almost dirge-like cadence of "See See Rider" is given a bluesy and low-key workout, featuring tasty interaction between Smith and Burrell. The languid pace churns steadily as they trade off impressive solos with almost palpable empathy. Burrell's "Sugar Hill" swings with a refined post-bop attack. His call-and-response with Smith conjures the pair's trademark give and take, which is assuredly one of the reasons the two maintained a five-plus-decade association. Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" is nothing short of definitive as the upbeat rhythm immediately propels Smith and Burrell into an otherwise unassuming and practically infectious bounce. Also duly noted is the sturdy backing of Bailey, whose discerning and compact snare is impeccably suited to the arrangement. Sadly, the track fades just as the band begin to really get loose. "Messin' Around" and "Gracie" bring France on board, adding a subtle reedy texture to Smith's intricate and advanced melodies. "Come on Baby" is another Burrell composition that slinks with a soulful mid-tempo groove, allowing for some inspired soloing. Although the CD reissue contains five additional cuts, a vivacious reworking of Jimmy McGriff's "Motorin' Along" was the final side on the LP. The title perfectly captures the travelogue nature, proving that getting there is indeed half the fun. Luckily, among the supplementary selections is an alternate take of "Motorin' Along," two readings of the pop standard "Since I Fell for You" and an impressive cover of Jack McDuff's "Groanin'." Jimmy Smith's voluminous catalog is remarkably solid throughout and Home Cookin' is a recommended starting place for burgeoning enthusiasts as well as a substantial entry for the initiated. - by Lindsay Planer, AMG

Artist: Jimmy Smith
Album: Home Cookin'
Year: 1959
Label: Blue Note
Runtime: 70:40

1.  See See Rider (Ma Rainey) 6:38
2.  Sugar Hill (Kenny Burrell) 5:21
3.  I Got A Woman (Ray Charles) 3:58
4.  Messin' Around (Jimmy Smith) 5:57
5.  Gracie (Jimmy Smith) 5:57
6.  Come On Baby (Kenny Burrell) 6:52
7.  Motorin' Along (Jimmy McGriff) 5:12
8.  Since I Fell For You (Buddy Johnson) 4:21
9.  Apostrophe (Percy France) 6:37
10.  Groanin' (Jimmy Smith) 8:12
11.  Motorin' Along (Alt Tk) 5:05
12.  Since I Fell For You (Alt Tk) 6:25

Jimmy Smith (Organ)
Kenny Burrell (Guitar)
Donald Bailey (Drums)
Percy France (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,4-6,9

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ry Cooder & Manuel Galbán - Mambo Sinuendo

Mambo Sinuendo is a collaboration between Ry Cooder and Buena Vista alum (and formerly of many other groups as well) Manuel Galbán. The album attempts to catch an old style popularized in Cuba by Galbán, and was, surprisingly, never followed up on by anybody after Galbán. It's a guitar-based romp closely based in the pop/jazz crossovers of the 1950s-1960s (Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, etc). There's a touch of exoticism here and there, and a larger touch of a relatively Hawaiian feel throughout the whole via the guitar techniques employed by the pair. It's all somewhere in a form between lounge, mambo, and Esquivel's old space-age-bachelor-pad music. In rare instances, there's even a little bit of a house drum loop added in by the percussionists. Aside from the stray spacey chorus in the title track, it's an entirely instrumental affair, which suits the musicians quite well, giving them a chance to show off their full virtuosity along the way. The musicality these guitarists hold, and the interplay between them, is really the treat of the album. For a nice look at the musical genre that never was, but probably should have been, this makes a good show. Newcomers to Cooder should perhaps dig into some older releases to get a feel before coming to this album, but all others should embrace it quickly. - by Adam Greenberg, AMG

Artist: Ry Cooder & Manuel Galbán
Album: Mambo Sinuendo
Year: 2003
Label: Nonesuch
Runtime: 50:29

1.  Drume Negrita (Ernesto Grenet) 5:00
2.  Monte Adentro (Arsenio Rodriguez) 2:53
3.  Los Twangueros (Manuel Galbán/Ry Cooder) 4:42
4.  Patricia (Perez Prado) 3:29
5.  Caballo Viejo (Simon Diaz) 3:51
6.  Mambo Sinuendo (Manuel Galbán/Ry Cooder) 2:31
7.  Bodas De Oro (Electo Rosell) 4:40
8.  Échale Salsita (Ignacio Pineiro) 4:27 
9.  La Luna En Tu Mirada (Luis Chanivecky) 4:13
10.  Secret Love (Sammy Fain/Paul-Francis Webster) 5:49
11.  Bolero Sonámbulo (Manuel Galbán/Ry Cooder) 4:31
12.  María La Lo (Ernesto Lecuona) 4:18

Manuel Galbán (Guitar)
Ry Cooder (Guitar, Steel Guitar, Trés, Vibes, Electric Piano, Organ, El. Bass)
Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez (Double Bass)
Jim Keltner (Drums) - 1-5,7,8,11
Joachim Cooder (Drums) - 1,4-9,12
Miguel "Angá" Diaz (Congas) - 1-5,7-9,12
Juliette Commagere (Coro) - 2,6
Carla Commagere (Coro) - 2,6
Helb Alpert (Trumpet) - 6
Gregorio Hernandez (Bata Drums) - 3
Maximino Duquesne Martinez (Bata Drums) - 3
Marcos H. Scull (Bata Drums) - 3
Yosvani Diaz (Bata Drums) - 3

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quincy Jones - Gula Matari

With his second and last album under the Creed Taylor aegis, the complexities of Quincy Jones' catholic, evolving tastes start to reveal themselves. We hear signs of his gradual gravitation toward pop right off the bat with the churchy R&B cover of Paul Simon's mega-hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water," dominated by Valerie Simpson's florid soul vocal and a gospel choir. His roots fixation surfaces in the spell-like African groove of the title track, a dramatic tone poem that ebbs and flows masterfully over its 13-minute length. From this point on, it's all jazz; the roaring big band comes back with a vengeance in "Walkin'," where Milt Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws, and other jazzers take fine solo turns, and things really get rocking on Nat Adderley's "Hummin'." Major Holley is a riot with his grumble-scat routine on bass. The whole record sounds like they must have had a ball recording it. - by Richard S. Ginell, AMG

Artist: Quincy Jones
Album: Gula Matari
Year: 1970
Label: A & M Records
Total time: 34:21

1.  Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon) 5:09
2.  Gula Matari (Quincy Jones) 13:02
3.  Walkin' (Richard Carpenter) 8:02
4.  Hummin' (Nat Adderley) 8:07

Quincy Jones (Arranged and Conducted)
Pepper Adams (Baritone Saxophone)
Danny Bank (Bass and Baritone Saxophone)
Hubert Laws (Flute)
Jerome Richardson (Soprano Saxophone)
Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet)
Danny Moore (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Ernie Royal (Trumpet)
Marvin Stamm (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Gene Young (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Wayne Andre (Trombone)
Al Grey (Trombone)
Benny Powell (Trombone)
Tony Studd (Trombone)
Eric Gale (Guitar)
Toots Thielemans (Guitar and Whistle)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Bob James (Piano)
Bobby Scott (Piano)
Grady Tate (Drums)
Don Elliott (Bass Marimba) - 2
Jimmy Johnson (Percussion)
Warren Smith (Percussion)
Ray Brown (Double Bass) - 1,3,4
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 2
Richard Davis (Double Bass) - 2
Major Holley (Double Bass and Voice)
Milt Jackson (Vibraphone)
Seymour Barab (Cello)
Kermit Moore (Cello)
Lucien Schmit (Cello)
Alan Shulman (Cello)
Valerie Simpson (Vocals)
Marilyn Jackson (Vocals)
Maretha Stewart (Vocals)
Barbara Massey (Vocals)
Hilda Harris (Vocals)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sonny Rollins - S. Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders

The last of the classic Sonny Rollins albums prior to his unexpected three-year retirement features the great tenor with pianist Hampton Hawes, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne (all bandleaders for Contemporary Records during this era) on an unusual but inspired list of standards. Rollins creates explorative and often witty improvisations on such songs as "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," "You," "In the Chapel in the Moonlight," and roaring versions of "I've Found a New Baby" and "The Song Is You." Great music. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

This is superb last studio session before Rollins almost 3 years gap. And it's from his artistic peak. He plays with great feeling sometimes very quick (The Song Is You) and sometimes economical (How High The Moon, I've found a new baby - with interesting one tone passage in mid part) but always perfect. But whole band plays great. Perfect production too . Like band's playing in my living room. I love similar productions, it's the best in jazz. - Frantisek Slaninka,

Artist: Sonny Rollins
Album: Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
Year: 1958
Label: OJC (1988)
Runtime: 54:57

1.  I've Told Ev'ry Little Star (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein) 5:26
2.  Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixy Melody (Sam M. Lewis/Jean Schwartz/Joe Young) 4:54
3.  How High the Moon (Nancy Hamilton/Morgan Lewis) 7:44
4.  You (Harold Adamson/Walter Donaldson) 4:15
5.  I've Found a New Baby (Jack Palmer/Spencer Williams) 3:38
6.  I've Found a New Baby (alternate take) 4:24
7.  Alone Together (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) 6:00
8.  In the Chapel in the Moonlight (Billy Hill) 6:41
9.  The Song Is You (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein) 5:44
10.  The Song Is You (alternate take) 6:11

Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Hampton Hawes (Piano)
Barney Kessel (Guitar)
Leroy Vinnegar (Double Bass)
Shelly Manne (Drums)
Victor Feldman (Vibraharp) - 4

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jimmy Scott - Over the Rainbow

There have been few 75-year-old vocalists working in any popular music style that sounded as good as Scott did on this session from late 2000, aided by contributions from top players like Joe Beck (guitar) and Grady Tate (drums). Scott loves those sentimental songs, and this set is full of standards in that vein, from the title track and "Pennies From Heaven" to "P.S. I Love You" (the Jenkins-Mercer composition, not the Beatles song) and "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)." For the most part the arrangements are appropriately small-scale, letting Scott's voice hog the foreground and squeeze plenty of nuances from his sad vibrato. "Over the Rainbow" itself suffers from an excessive wash of vibes, but fortunately that's not typical of most of the set, which just does toe the right side of gushing emotion. It is a refreshing change of pace, though, when a trace of somber darkness is introduced on the foreboding, doomy arrangement of "Strange Fruit," which benefits from a guest shot by David "Fathead" Newman on tenor sax. - by Richie Unterberger, AMG

Artist: "Little" Jimmy Scott
Album: Over the Rainbow
Year: 2000
Label: Milestone (2001)
Runtime: 56:29

1.  Pennies From Heaven (Johnny Burke/Arthur Johnston) 3:18
2.  Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg) 3:48
3.  All Or Nothing At All (Arthur Altman/Jack Lawrence) 5:44
4.  Strange Fruit (Lewis Allan) 3:56
5.  Don't Take Your Love From Me (Henry Nemo) 5:27
6.  Just Friends (John Klenner/Sam M. Lewis) 5:35
7.  P.S. I Love You (Gordon Jenkins/Johnny Mercer) 4:49
8.  Everybody's Somebody's Fool (Ace Adams/Reginald Adams/Lionel Hampton) 4:34
9.  If You Only Knew (Rose Marie McCoy/Mendelsohn/Singleton) 3:19
10.  I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Duke Ellington/Paul Francis Webster) 5:00
11.  I'll Close My Eyes (Buddy Kaye/Billy Reid) 5:04
12.  When Did You Leave Heaven? (Walter Bullock/Richard Whiting) 5:50

Jimmy Scott (Vocals)
Joe Beck (Guitar, Alto Guitar, Acoustic Guitar) - 1-5,7,8,11
George Mraz (Double Bass) - 1,3-5,7,9,11
Grady Tate (Drums) - 1,3-5,7,9,11
Michael Kanan (Piano) - 3,9,10,12
Larry Willis (Piano) - 1,4,6
Joe Locke (Vibes) - 2,5,8,11
Gregoire Maret (Harmonica) - 6,9,11
Bob Kindred (Tenor Saxophone) - 1,7
Justin Robinson (Alto Saxophone) - 3
David "Fathead" Newman (Tenor Saxophone) - 4

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Archie Shepp & Richard Davis - Body and Soul

This duet date from 1989 demonstrates the deep blues feeling and technical mastery Archie Shepp has on the tenor saxophone. Comprised of four standards -- "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Body and Soul," "Pannonica," and "'Round Midnight" -- this set is one of Shepp's most enjoyable ever. The reasons are myriad, but it is in large part due to the fluid, loping bass of Richard Davis. Recorded in a club in front of a live audience, Shepp digs deep into his own history of influential tenor players and comes out not wanting, but on par with them, from Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis to Sonny Rollins to John Coltrane. His playing here is big, meaty, and warm, full of subtle emotions as well as bleating cries. Davis' sense of time and melody is nearly incredible on the title track and on "'Round Midnight." The interplay Shepp shares with him is tasty, coming from fragmentary elements in Monk's changes; Shepp and Davis move around the lyric and cut to the heart of the tune's color and ambiguity. It's a haunting version and one that offers a completely different reading of the tune over 17 minutes. On "Pannonica," Shepp's blues feeling comes out of Ben Webster as well as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and his soloing is full of warmth, humor, and a ragged sort of elegance. This -- like Shepp's date with Horace Parlan, Goin' Home -- is a major addition to the saxophonist's catalog. - by Thom Yurek, AMG

Artist: Archie Shepp & Richard Davis
Album: Body and Soul
Year: 1989 (Recorded live at Club Cantare, Boston in October 1st, 1989)
Label: Enja (1991)
Total time: 54:18

1.  Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Mercer Ellington) 12:36
2.  Body And Soul (Johnny Green) 17:17
3.  Pannonica (Thelonious Monk) 7:21
4.  Round About Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 17:03

Archie Shepp (Tenor Saxophone)
Richard Davis (Double Bass)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kirk Whalum - In This Life

Of all of Kirk's CDs this is my favorite from beginning to end. This CD is the essence of soul-filled contemporary/popular jazz music without being overproduced or busy. The production values are supurb! Both the music and the lyrics speak to the essence of life in a way that truly give honor to life. The breadth of Kirk's sax is wonderfully matched with Mike Reid's vocals and Matt Rollings piano. The respective "duos" with Larrry Carlton and Dwight Sills could not have been played any better. A pristine collection of songs! - by M. McGhee,

I haven't been able to stop listening to this album for 2 weeks. I feel as though I have found someone's musical diary, revealing the innermost and profound confessions of the least-understood emotion in history -- love. The most surprising fact is that as I listen, and listen again and again, I felt as though when I finished the diary I looked, it was my name that was the one that was on it. Kirk Whalum has his finger on the very pulse of all our deepest thoughts and secrets and translates them into words and music that literally transcend definition in any other form but his soulful renditions. I have never experienced an album so vividly raw and emotional since I heard Eric Clapton's "Pilgrim". Whether drawn from his own experiences or those of others Kirk Whalum speaks to us all: men and women; husbands and wives; lovers and lost loves. We hear his rich, plaintive saxophone and wondrous vocals and somehow can't believe -- "how did he know? how could he understand what I felt?" From start to finish, "In This Life" is an instant classic for anyone who has ever loved and lost -- or loved and won -- or loved at all. I just ordered two more copies for people I care for who are experiencing transitional periods in their relationships -- just so they know there are words and notes and 60 minutes of musical enlightenment to ease their way -- over and over and over again. - by powermuffn,

Artist: Kirk Whalum
Album: In This Life
Year: 1995
Label: Sony/Columbia
Runtime: 59:30

1.  In This Life (Mike Reid/Allen Shamblin) 3:36
2.  'Til I Get It Right (Larry Henley/Red Lane) 4:58
3.  Drowning In The Sea Of Love (Kenneth Gamble/Leon Huff) 7:02
4.  Peaceful Hideaway (A. Smith/Kirk Whalum) 4:33
5.  I Wouldn't Be A Man (Rory Michael Bourke/Mike Reid) 5:05
6.  Living For The City (Stevie Wonder) 4:33
7.  My Father's Hope (R. Jackson) 4:27
8.  When The Night Rolls In (Sally Dworsky/Brenda Russell/Rick Wayland) 4:35
9.  I Turn To You (Mike Reid/Allen Shamblin) 5:27
10.  Reck'n So (Kirk Whalum) 3:58
11.  The Way I Need You Now (Barry Alfonso/Mike Reid) 4:56
12.  Reprise: Dans Cette Vie ( In This Life) (Mike Reid/Allen Shamblin) 6:15

Kirk Whalum (Tenor Saxophone)
Matt Rollings (Piano, Keyboards) - 1,2,8,9,11,12
Mike Reid (Vocals) - 1,5,9,11
Brent Mason (Guitar) - 2,6,8,9,12
David Hungate (Bass Guitar) - 2,8,9,12
Terry McMillan (Percussion) - 3,6,8,9,11
Owen Hale (Drums) - 3,5,8,9
Cedric Lee (Bass Guitar) - 4,7,10,11
Bob Bailey (Backing Vocals) - 3,5,11
Chris Willis (Backing Vocals) - 3,5,11
Duawne Starling (Backing Vocals) - 3,5,11
Louis Nunley (Backing Vocals) - 3,5,11
Larry Carlton (Guitar) - 4,7,10
Rick Jackson (Keyboards) - 4,7,10
Ricky Lawson (Drums) - 4,7,11
Brian Kilgore (Percussion) - 4,7,10
Dwight Sills (Guitar) - 7,10,11
Vaneese Thomas (Vocals) - 2,12
Teresa James (Vocals) - 3,8
Reggie Young (Guitar) - 3,5
Barry Beckett (Piano and Organ) - 3,5
Willie Weeks (Bass Guitar) - 3,5
Paul Franklin (Pedabro, Steel Guitar) - 6,7
Don Potter (Guitar) - 7,11
Mark Summer (Cello) - 1
Farrell Morris (Vibes) - 2
Sonny Landreth (Guitar) - 3
Mark O'Connor (Fiddle) - 6
Ndugu Chancler (Drums) - 10
Ralph Penland (Drums) - 12
Eddie Bayers (Drums) - 12

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kenny Garrett - African Exchange Student

Kenny Garrett's only problem is that you find his albums next to Kenny G's (sorry to mention his name in the same sentence w/Garrett, but it needed to be said). I saw Kenny in Miles' band a while back, but I didn't know who he was. I got turned on to "African Exchange Student" about 5 or 6 years ago. My only problem w/the title track was that it ended. It's almost hypnotic. Even though Kenny's an alto player, I find his music and this band to be a spiritual continuum of John Coltrane's great 60's quartet. It has that "certain something" that I'm continully searching for in the music I purchase, but rarely find. This album is up there with "A Love Supreme", Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland", the Allman Brothers "Live at the Fillmore East", Miles' "Kind of Blue", and Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit's live debut album as being among my absolute all-time favorites. Even track 4, the "smooth"one is a great tune. This is a gem of a recording. - by Paul A. Kelly,

Altoist Kenny Garrett, who was then a key member of Miles Davis' group, had one of his strongest early sets as a leader on this Atlantic disc. "Ja-Hed" features his post-bop improvising over the chord changes of "Impressions," the is both lighthearted and adventurous on "Mack the Knife" and the title cut has Garrett expertly building up an emotional solo from intense long tones to sound explorations and late period 'Trane screams. Throughout the CD, Kenny Garrett's alto is the main attraction but the strong rhythm section (comprised of pianist Mulgrew Miller, either Charnett Moffett or Ron Carter on bass, Tony Reedus or Elvin Jones on drums and occasional percussionists) should not be overlooked. Whether it be the modal tribute piece "Shaw," the rarely played Coltrane song "Straight Street" or the minor blues "Nostradamus," Kenny Garrett justifies the praise that he received from Miles Davis. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Kenny Garrett
Album: African Exchange Student
Year: 1990
Label: Atlantic
Runtime: 66:47

1.  Ja - Hed (Kenny Garrett) 5:57
2.  Mack The Knife (Kurt Weill/Berthold Brecht) 8:40
3.  African Exchange Student (Kenny Garrett) 9:18
4.  Someday We'll All Be Free (Donny Hathaway/Edward Howard) 5:43
5.  One World Through (Kenny Garrett) 1:37
6.  Straight Street (John Coltrane) 4:57
7.  Shaw (Kenny Garrett) 6:40
8.  Lullaby Of Isfahan (Kenny Garrett) 6:10
9.  One Finger Snap (Herbie Hancock) 6:15
10.  Your Country-Ness (Kenny Garrett) 5:27
11.  Nostradamus (Kenny Garrett) 6:00

Kenny Garrett (Alto Saxophone, Flute, Vocals)
Mulgrew Miller (Piano) - 1-4,6-11
Charnett Moffett (Bass) - 1-4,6,8,9
Tony Reedus (Drums) - 1-4,6,9
Elvin Jones (Drums) - 5,7-9,11
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 5,7,8,11
Rudy Bird (Percussion) - 3,4,8
Tito Ocasio (Percussion) - 3,4
Steve Thompson (Percussion) - 3,4

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Anouar Brahem - Barzakh

This starkly beautiful collection of 13 tracks by Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem is his debut release for the ECM label. The album spotlights Brahem's solo oud pieces, which range from the meditative ("Sadir") to the propulsive ("Ronda"). This solo work is nicely augmented by stellar contributions from violinist Bechir Selmi and percussionist Lassad Hosni; Selmi is featured on the transcendent "Barzakh," while Hosni figures prominently on "Souga" and "Bou Naouara." The three musicians come together for the joyous dance number "Parfum de Gitane." Throughout Barzakh, Brahem and the others forge an appealing mix of Middle Eastern sonorities and jazz phrasing, an intimate sound perfectly suited to the clean and spacious ECM recording style. This is a great title for fans of both international music and jazz. - by Stephen Cook, AMG

Artist: Anouar Brahem
Album: Barzakh
Year: 1990
Label: ECM (1991)
Runtime: 57:47

1.  Raf Raf (Anouar Brahem) 3:41
2.  Barzakh (Anouar Brahem/Bechir Selmi) 11:09
3.  Sadir (Anouar Brahem) 6:40
4.  Ronda (Anouar Brahem) 3:15
5.  Hou (Anouar Brahem) 1:41
6.  Sarandib (Anouar Brahem) 2:54
7.  Souga (Lassad Hosni) 2:14
8.  Parfum de Gitane (Anouar Brahem) 4:21
9.  Bou Naouara (Lassad Hosni) 2:27
10.  Kerkenah (Anouar Brahem) 7:37
11.  La Nuit Des Yeux (Anouar Brahem) 5:36
12.  Le Belvedere Assienge (Anouar Brahem) 4:21
13.  Qaf (Anouar Brahem) 1:45

Anouar Brahem (Oud)
Bechir Selmi (Violin)
Lassad Hosni (Percussion)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...